Narcissism – is it the New Normal?


The subject of Narcissism and its current epidemic in our self-celebrated society is getting plenty of press and finding it way into numerous books.  Drs. Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell wrote in their book, “The Narcissism Epidemic,”:

“Personality does not exist in isolation.  The increase of narcissism in individuals is, we believe, just an outcome of a massive shift in culture toward a greater focus on self-admiration.  Narcissism has spread through the generations”.

A recent article published in the December 19th Huffing ton Post also deserves reading on the subject, so here it is in its entirety.

Narcissism – the New Normal
The Huffington Post
December 19, 2010
by Judith Acosta, LISW, CHT

The other day a patient sent me an email with a link to a New York Times article that reported that the upcoming revision of the psychiatric diagnostic standards manual, the DSM-V, has removed the narcissistic personality disorder from its roster.

She asked me, “Are they crazy?”

I wrote back, “I think so.” Then, I thought, maybe the lunatics really are running the asylum.

“Removed” in this case appears to mean two things: 1) that the syndrome as they have hitherto described it is not, in their opinions, clear enough to be described as a character pathology; and 2) that it will no longer be an acceptable diagnosis for reimbursement. Insurance companies, hospitals, treatment facilities and protocols will no longer recognize it or use it to direct treatment.

Should that give us hope or terrify us? Does that mean narcissism is slowly going the way of the Dodo, or does it mean that it has become so pervasive that it’s no longer thought of as pathological?

My experience personally and professionally has me leaning in the direction of the latter, that it has become so much a part of our culture, particularly our parenting, that narcissistic traits are considered normal — so much so that if we don’t have a reality show named after us, we use our own phones or video up-links to transmit our private lives to anyone from Alaska to Antarctica who will watch.

Our culture, the media-infused air we breathe, has itself become both a breeding ground and a reflecting pool for narcissists.
Makes you think about how we all got to be so self-centered, doesn’t it?

With all good wishes,